New bike carrier finished and tested

More progress made following Solid foundations for new bike carrier now built the bike carrier for our Dandy Folding Camper is now complete and I have been for a test drive with it fully loaded with 6 bikes:


Sorry about the picture quality from my phone.

From left to right

  1. Trek 1000C (eldest son)
  2. Giant Expression N7 (normally middle son, for our summer holiday Jane)
  3. Ridgeback Avenida (normally Jane, for our summer holiday our future daughter-in-law)
  4. Giant Yukon FX3 (this holiday shared middle son and me)
  5. Ridgeback Storm (youngest son)
  6. Trek Pilot 1.2 (this holiday shared middle son and me)
Having fitted them all we have discovered the handlebars of the Giant Mountain bike are 2.5cm higher than we have declared as our maximum height for the ferry. Fortunately there are about 2.5cm of spacers on the headset and height to be easily lost by rotating the handlebars. Note that we will take Jane’s basket off before leaving home.
Ground clearance at the back is a bit tight for speed bumps etc, will probably ground the wood getting on and off the ferry. Fortunately the car will be fully loaded which will lower the towbar and raise the back of the camper a bit 🙂
Anyway they all seem pretty stable and the whole thing is nice and rigid. So I am pretty happy with it.
Just 4 bolts to remove and it will all lift off when we get to the campsite. I thought I might turn it into a big picnic table at that point 🙂
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  1. i got my bike carrier from and its great!

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  5. Hello just found this on Google images. Laughed so much I nearly had to change my underwear.
    This isn’t just cut and paste, you have used this? Any detail on how the frame attaches. Please visit we’d love to hear from you. I’m going to produce a link from there to your photo, please may I copy the image.


    • Hi Kevin,

      It isn’t cut and paste. We carried all 6 bikes from Leicester to the Loire (ferry from Portsmouth to Caen), then onto the Vendee before coming home.

      All worked well on both minor roads cutting cross country and a last minute sprint to the ferry to come home (we dallied at Mont St Michel too long).

      Only irritation was when we got all packed up at the campsite in the Loire and just as we were about to hitch-up we discovered the dandy keys to the hitchlock were in the cupboard under the sink – so we had to take everything off again 🙁 Took an hour from discovering the problem to driving away.

      The front support is simply bolted through the chassis under the gas locker with 2 x 12mm bolts. At the rear there are 2 beams that are bolted to the chassis and then just stick out far enough to bolt the uprights to.

      You are welcome to copy the picture although a link back is appreciated.

      We have more ambitious plans once I get my welder up and going. They include two kitchen pods on the back (hinged at the rear corners to swing out of the way when camping). One is for the cooker with grill & microwave, the other for fridge). The front box is going to change so we can have 2 lightweight gas bottles, hot water heater/tank and battery. The original kitchen area will become a fold away bathroom with shower.
      We can then fit simple bars between the front and rear elements for bike carriers.

  6. Dave

    If you go here you will find some examples of a design that might be of use when you have your welder fired up.
    What sort of welding kit do you have?
    As mentioned briefly in the link the people who made the Dandys did do a roof rack frame.
    I’m not sure if the photos are of one of theirs or a copy.
    Square section tubing riveted to the side walls of the camper with thinner tube sliding inside it secured with screws a la the bed legs and a hinge at the top of the frame so it could be flipped over and the frame complete with roof box lie inverted beneath a bed. Really clever bit of kit.
    Only thing is you wont see many. A few on Destinys virtually none on Designers. They got a bit panicky about the maximum weight of Designers being 500Kg and the possibilities of encouraging overloading.
    Now if your mad keen and sick of your dandy towing nose up you can fit 750Kg suspension units.
    Re the kitchen pods I would be very cautious about sticking a load of weight on the back of the Designer. The short rear entry campers are rock steady probably due to the length of the trailer hitch to wheels and it’s high percentage of the total length. Increasing total length doesn’t help anything but putting weight on the back end is a very bad idea. You may just get away with it on one of these as the stability is so good. If it was a longer unit you were adding weight to the back of I’d travel with spare underwear. Unless of course your a cracking engineer and know a way round it.
    Sorry to pour cold water on your idea within minutes of meeting (how rude) but better that than see you wrapped round a lamppost. If I was devious I’d encourage you as sticking a lightweight motorcycle across the A frame counterbalanced by a gas box at the rear would be great if I could get away with it. Should have said nothing and saw how you got on.
    Hope to see you on our site.


    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for the link to the pictures.

      One extra reason I want to have my supports front and rear is that I want to be able to carry a tandem recumbent trike which is longer than the main body of the designer.

      My welder is a Portamig 185.

      I am going to look at the 750kg suspension units. An upgrade seems very sensible for our use (we choose the Dandy not so much due to low total weight but for storage, fuel efficiency and ease of towing).

      I am quite focused on keeping the rear weight down.

      – 3 burner hob & grill one side: shelf for microwave which will probably travel inside
      – portable fridge the other side.

      The idea is to fit box section shaped as a letter C. It will go across the back and along the sides to the wheel arch. It will have 2 corner posts which are braced forwards and sideways with diagonals. The sideways diagonals will just clear the door. The whole thing will have tabs on it which will be bolted to the chassis.

      I will have a top cross bar that bolts to the corner posts when travelling as the rear “goal post” for the roof rack.

      The corner posts will have hinges and the 2 lightweight boxes will drop on them.

      I am fitting an Al-Ko stabiliser and the load in the front box will ensure nose weight stays similar. In future I am going to make it so that bikes load facing forwards (the bike carriers themselves didn’t cope so well with sideways wind pressure). This way I can also get their weight a bit more forward if I need to.

      I am also upgrading the lights (well all the electrics as the mains unit failed this summer). I will be fitting LED lights to the rear pods.

      For gas to the cooker I am thinking of fitting BBQ connectors inside and out so the cooker pod can be in the awning or inside.

      The key issue is finding time to do all this 🙁

  7. I only did enough welding to start to understand how poor I was but if you need to look at any shielding gas options I might know some less extortionate if not cheap options.
    To my shame I can’t visualise what your arrangement will be with the rear of the Dandy. If you do any prep work or drawings please forward them I’d be enthralled. What I was saying in relation to weight is covered here but I’d not be too distressed the good Dr hasn’t been entirely honest. Even I spotted ways he loaded the experiment.
    If you end up looking at the 750Kg suspension you should get some links from the site, any questions ask.
    Not quite sure I get the association between the replacement rear lights and internal electric issues hopefully you’ll make us all aware.

  8. Kevin,

    Will update everyone on progress with the upgrades 🙂

    I am not worried about the stability for a number of reasons.

    – Many trailer tents have kitchens hanging off the back. It is a much greater % of their weight.
    – The Al-ko stabliser hitch makes a huge difference which I suspect will outweigh the loss to stability
    – we are not moving weight but adding it. The centre will still be loaded (in fact by removing the existing kitchen units we may well end up with more weight centrally as it will be easier to load).
    – the Dandy is by far the most stable trailer I have ever towed and that includes everything from little luggage trailers, to 21ft sailing yachts with keels and twin axle 6 berth caravans.

    The only connection between the rear lights and internal electronics is that neither work very well at the moment 🙂 More seriously, we want to use the grey socket on the back of the car to charge the battery and power the fridge while we are driving. So at that point the two systems interconnect.

  9. Travelling with bikes | 42 Bikes - pingback on August 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm
  10. Did you ever uprate your roof bars or do a full system involving a rear hung kitchen. I saw an image the other day and thought of you. Can’t post the image but it is at the top of this website.

    • Hi,
      We have made some progress. We have had the suspension uprated from 500kg units to 750kg. We have new lighting with LED lights (on removable boards). We have a new cooker and a new awning (on order).
      As our sons have got older we are finding that there are often only 3 of us going on holiday together so Summer 2013 we simply put our 3 bikes inside the car to go to the Netherlands which worked really well.

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